Welcome to this week’s gaming edition of iPhone + iPad Gems! This week, we’re looking at three casual games: one’s a sports game, the second is a driving game, and the last is a castle-defense style game.
Of the three, Reckless Getaway and ZombieSmash HD! are our favorites. Both are a lot of fun, and the former is a universal title that works with iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. We also enjoyed Flick Golf Extreme! HD quite a bit. Read on for all the details.
Full Fat Productions Flick Golf Extreme! HD (version 1.0, $5) is a follow up to the company’s Flick Golf HD; both are fun takes on the traditional sport. It’s worth noting that neither are universal titles, but iPhone versions are available separately at lower prices. In the three different modes—Quickshot, World Tour, and 5 Ball Challenge—players are tasked with taking a single swing towards the hole in a variety of exotic and exciting locales, including an aircraft carrier and the rooftops of a big city. This is the “Extreme” portion of the game, and what separates the sequel from its predecessor.
At the beginning of each round, you’re set at a tee. There’s no club selection or anything else to slow the pace of the game. The hole is the in the middle of a series of concentric circles whose values increase closer to the center. Swiping through the ball sends it flying towards the post. Once in the air, you can change the ball’s direction by swiping at it, continuing up until its third bounce on the ground. This can dramatically change the ball’s end point and is a crucial element of the game. Points are awarded not only for where the ball lands, but also the use of curves, topspin, and backspin. The three modes have different specific goals, but for each the idea is the same: get as many points as possible per hole.
The game is presented from a first-person perspective with really nice 3-D environments; it’s very good-looking. While there is a generic rock track playing over the main menu, there is no music playing during the game itself—sound effects are certainly in full effect though. Setting-specific ambient noises, stroke and bouncing sounds, and result screen sound effects all add to the overall experience. With five different courses and three different modes, we see this as a fun casual game that will be worth the price to both golf fans and casual gamers. It’s easy to pick up and there’s no real learning curve. While the actions are repetitive, each hole is a little bit different and that helps keep the game fun. The fact that the HD version is needlessly separate from the iPhone version is a strike against it though, and keeps it from earning a higher rating. iLounge Rating: B.
Reckless Getaway (version 1.0.1, $3)—a thankfully universal title from Polarbit—is a 3-D top-down driving game. Essentially an updated version of the early Grand Theft Auto games, Reckless Getaway is stripped of missions and the ability to get out of the car: your character has robbed a bank and must get away from the police who are in hot pursuit over 16 different courses split into four worlds. We’d say evade, but that implies a level of subtlety; to move on, you must smash through innocent motorists and police alike, using power-ups to score extra points, while collecting coins along the way.
Acceleration is automatic; your job as the driver is to steer right and left using the arrows at the bottom of the screen. The only other control is a button for the power-ups that you gather, such as speed bursts and the ability hop over vehicles. Knocking into other cars is encouraged, but also dangerous. Taking a car head-on or just sustaining too much damage from obstacles can lead to your vehicle getting wrecked and the loss of points. While the control scheme is simple, collecting enough points to move on to the next level isn’t always easy.
We did notice the frame rate slow down on a few occasions, suggesting that the game’s graphics may be a bit too much at times for even the iPad 2’s A5 processor—or that the game needs further optimizations. Otherwise, the graphics look good; we’d compare the quality to a PlayStation 2 game. The soundtrack is somewhat California-surfer with an epic Mission: Impossible quality to it. It definitely fits the game, although it would be nice to have different tracks for the different worlds. Reckless Getaway is a lot of fun, and features the right level of difficulty, as it takes a while to master, but isn’t overly frustrating. Once you’ve beat the 16 levels, though, there’s not much replay value here; an update to add more levels and challenges would certainly help its value, which at the $3 level is worthy of our general recommendation. iLounge Rating: B+.
Our final game in this review is ZombieSmash HD (version 2.0.1, $4) from Gamedoctors. Like Flick Golf Extreme! HD, there is a separate iPhone version available—it’s only $1, but having to buy two different versions of the same game for no good reason is still a bummer. For those wishing to try the title out, lite versions of each are available for free. All four versions feature the same gameplay: they’re castle-defense games, requiring you to protect a house or bunker under siege from zombies. It’s a fast-paced, frantic title.
There are four different gameplay modes: Campaign, Bonus Nights, Endless Siege, and Sandbox. There are two campaigns, each spanning a month and about a year apart from each other. Each level represents a different day. Depending on the level and your progression in it, the house or bunker will either be in the middle of the screen or situated off to one of the sides. Zombies of various sizes and abilities attack whatever side is exposed. At first there are just a few and they’re pretty slow, but as you move through the levels, a lot more show up, and they get to be much tougher. The basic way to eliminate them is by flicking them up in the air so that they come crashing to the ground. ZombieSmash HD utilizes multi-touch so that you can toss as many zombies as you can get a hold of at once. Special weapons such as mines and boulders help plow through the hordes, and once they’re destroyed, the zombies drop stars that are used to update your inventory.
Although the game starts out pretty easy, it quickly turns into feverish swiping at the screen with eight fingers and maybe even a thumb or two. The only real strategy is when to use your weapons; otherwise it’s a matter of clawing away and hoping you kill everything—definitely fun, but imprecise. Special shooting levels are appreciated, as they break up the monotony a bit. We enjoyed the 2-D, cartoon-style graphics, which looked particularly nice on the iPad 2’s large display. The music and sound effects are both solid; in fact, they soundtrack is so good it’s been released as an EP on iTunes. Sixty-one levels over two campaigns will keep you occupied for quite a while, and the alternate modes offer pretty high replay value. ZombieSmash HD is a fun casual game that also has some depth, but like Flick Golf Extreme! HD before it, its lack of Universal support for all iOS devices keeps it from earning a higher rating. iLounge Rating: B+.